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The A's swung a trade Saturday to acquire infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from Tampa Bay, sending catcher John Jaso, minor league shortstop Daniel Robertson, minor league outfielder Boog Powell and cash considerations to the Rays in return.
In an offseason during which the A's have shipped off four All-Stars to give off the vibe of a rebuild, this trade instead brings back two players who should make an impact in 2015.
It comes at a high cost though, as Robertson, a shortstop, was the A's consensus top prospect. The A's have traded two young shortstops who were their No. 1 prospects, with Addison Russell going to the Cubs last July in a package that brought Jeff Samardzija, who has since been traded from Oakland.
Zobrist, one of the majors most versatile players, seems a natural to slot in at second base, where Eric Sogard is currently atop the depth chart. Escobar's addition gives the A's options at shortstop. They acquired Marcus Semien from the White Sox in December, and GM Billy Beane said Semien would get the crack as the starter. But Escobar gives them an experienced second option. Semien, like Zobrist, has the versatility to handle short or second base.
Jaso very much appeared a trade candidate given Oakland's depth at catcher and first base. Powell, a speedy outfielder, made a nice impression during the Arizona Fall League and surely that caught the Rays' attention.